The 21 Principles of Tarot – V
V. The Oracular Moment is Sacrosanct.
The Tarot is a way in which truth speaks to power.
It provides a truth that is outside of oneself and in relationship to the real world.
Every symbol in the cards is a possibility of connecting to the sacred.
So, we can use tarot as a divine system – a true divination.
Remember then, from the very beginning, that the tarot is neither church nor temple, priest nor priestess, but the moment in which we ourselves can hear truth.
This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end.
In Tarosophy Squared, the forthcoming book from which the 21 Principles are taken, each principle has an extended commentary.
This allows us to discern how the tarot offers a way of seeing life, experiencing it, and engaging with it at its deepest levels.
It also provides discussion points arising from the brief commentaries for group work and the development of new thoughts and methods.
The extended commentary for Principle V includes this paragraph:
When we say that tarot is a way in which truth speaks to power, we mean primarily that it offers itself as a vehicle in which our own inner truth – the very nature of our relationship to the divine – can speak to the power of our own psyche. It is our psyche which is generated from this inner relationship and by means of the various processes of ego maintained in a state of necessary separation. The Tarot – like a living dream – like a ritual trance – like a vision or breakthrough following trauma – is a key which opens the portal of truth by its very existence.
We extend our method of interpretation today and add a new practice; that of ritual. We can have a day off if we want from reading the cards – we never want to force ourselves or make it difficult to read!
Now, by ritual we do not mean a complex ceremony but merely a simple practice, one which separates out the oracular moment.
This is not to say that every tarot card reading must be conducted in high rites or solemnity – quite the opposite! When we recognise the oracular moment is revealed in every moment, a light-hearted draw of a cereal box from a shelf can provide a meaningful message from the deities!
I most often recite this verse when I am shuffling my deck:
“In the divine name IAO, I invoke thee, thou Great Angel HRU, who art set over the operations of this Secret Wisdom. Lay thine hand invisibly on these consecrated cards of art, that thereby I may obtain true knowledge of hidden things, to the glory of the ineffable Name. Amen”.
It is from the Order of the Golden Dawn and the Angel HRU is also invoked in a particular piece during the consecration of the Vault of the Adepti. I see this Angel as particularly appropriate to Tarot and Divination because it is also called upon to assist our “spiritual perception” and rise beyond our “lower selfhood” into a state of divine union.
However, you can utilise any verse; even something as simple as “I shuffle these cards one, two, three/secret things they will tell to me”.
Choose or create a short verse that YOU CAN REMEMBER and recite it several times when next shuffling your deck.
This may seem an easy exercise today, but consider this – firstly, you may want to take today to also practice another three-card reading – and secondly, in constructing a verse you are having to state how YOU see the cards working, what you feel they are for, how they work, and what you want to achieve.
Your verse is a sacred statement. It separates out your reading and your state into something different than the everyday.
Your verse will never be set in stone. It is just for now. You can change it as you make progress and it reflects your deeper learning.
Consider it as a ‘magical name’ in a sense, that it represents your understanding of your current relationship to the divine in a single sentence or so.
Even the most mundane and obvious sentence or two can become an invocation:
“I shuffle these cards and connect to the divine/In doing so they will speak beyond time”.
Lay out a three-card reading as previous lessons.
Look at the colours on the cards.
Look at the shapes and patterns on the cards.
Close your eyes.
Allow a sound to be generated for each card.
You can keep opening your eyes until you have all three sounds.
Notice how they compare and contrast with each other – do they go up in volume, are they all very different, do they smooth out or get more jagged?
Now run them all together in a sequence, one after another – each sound – making them go around faster and faster in your mind – until they begin to blur into one final sound or noise.
What does the final sound tell you?
What flow or story comes from the three individual sounds?
Each of the 21 Principles will build together and give you absolute confidence in reading tarot in three weeks.
Tomorrow we return to card interpretation in much more detail.
PS. In yesterday’s exercise, did you see Alex as male or female?
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